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Chapter 5

This webpage reproduces a chapter of the


(Loeb Classical Library edition, 1928)

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Chapter 7
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 p273  VI. Light Infantry and Targeteers

Asclep. vi.1 = Ael. VII.4‑5; XV.1; XXXI1 The light infantry and targeteers will be stationed by the general as the situation demands, sometimes before the line of battle, sometimes behind it, and on other occasions now on the right flank and again on the left; the first is called van‑position (protaxis), the second rear-position (hypotaxis), and the third flank-position (prosentaxis).28 Sometimes they are incorporated in the phalanx and stationed one beside each man; and this is called insert-position (parentaxis), because there is an insertion of different branches of the service, e.g., light infantry with hoplites; but the incorporation of like arms, such as hoplites beside hoplites or light infantry beside light infantry — the reason for this will be  p275 discussed later29 — is not called insert-position, but rather interjection (parembole).30

Asclep. vi.2 = Ael. XV.22 Now these light infantry will also have 1024 files, if they are to stand behind the phalanx of the hoplites and extend the same distance, without, however, a depth of sixteen men — for they are only one‑half as strong — but obviously of eight men.

Asclep. vi.3 = Ael. XVI3 With these, also, four files will form a squad (systasis), two squads a platoon (pentekontarchia), and double the platoon a company (hekatontarchia), to which will be attached the supernumeraries, five in number, an army-herald, a signal‑man, a bugler, an aide-de‑camp, and a file-closer. Two companies will form a battalion (psilagia), two of these a regiment (xenagia), the double of which will be a brigade (systremma), two brigades a division (epixenagia), the double of which will form a corps (stiphos), and where this is doubled we have the phalanx of light infantry, which some call also a supporting force (epitagma). To this are attached eight men as supernumeraries, four of whom are generals and the others brigadier-generals (systremmatarchai).31

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

28 The reasons for such positions are clear. The rear-position was the first in order of development, when the lighter troops served merely as reserves. Later they became an offensive weapon for the army.

[decorative delimiter]

29 Cf. x.17 below.

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30 In the definition of some of these terms Asclepiodotus differs from Aelian.

[decorative delimiter]

31 The importance of the light infantry is not adequately appreciated by Asclepiodotus. With each increase in the depth of the phalanx and, consequently, in its immobility, the light infantry became more necessary, until the Macedonian phalanx was helpless without it.

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Page updated: 28 Nov 12